People in the News

Quelle Surprise! David Gockley to SF Opera

February 8, 2005 | By Susan Elliott
Confirming weeks of speculation, David Gockley is to be the new general director of the San Francisco Opera, the company announced yesterday. Gockley, 61, has been for 33 years the general director of the Houston Grand Opera, a company that he has brought into international focus, largely by dint of its aggressive programming of new work: 32 world premieres have been mounted during his tenure.

Gockley is to start in San Francisco on July 15; the company’s current general director, Pamela Rosenberg, will stay on through Dec. 2006 in the capacity of executive advisor. Rosenberg came to the company in 2001; last June she announced that she would not be renewing her contract.

In his remarks at the press conference, Gockley acknowledged Rosenberg “for her tremendous wisdom and candor throughout the search.” The company of which he assumes the helm is not in the surest of financial positions; Rosenberg’s goals have included shrinking the budget from a high of $60 million to $45 million by next season. Houston’s current budget is $21 million.

“My goal is to maintain artistic excellence while achieving fiscal balance and stability,” he said in his remarks. “San Francisco Opera must attract the finest singers in the world and, at the same time, devote maximum energy toward discovering and nurturing young talent.”

Gockley also had much praise for music director Donald Runnicles, who recently renewed his contract through 2009, and remarked how, when he had been a young professional, San Francisco under the direction of Kurt Herbert Adler "served as my role model and inspiration."

Other candidates in the search for Rosenberg’s successor are said to have included Matthew Epstein, whose contract as artistic director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago ends in April; Adrian Collette, general manager of Opera Australia; and Anthony Freud, 47, who headed the Welsh National Opera after Epstein.

See also Joshua Kosman’s interview with Gockley in the San Francisco Chronicle and today's coverage in The New York Times.



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